Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Review

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Christina Bishop


a man standing and fishing in an old town sportsman kayak

Thanks for visiting our Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak Review. As you know, you can’t always catch fish from the shore which is why you need the right fishing kayak to take you to where the action is!

But then there is the struggle of choosing the RIGHT kayak.

Not all fishing kayaks are made equally. There are endless variations including the length of the kayak, seats that swivel, number of fishing rod holders and more.

Why Listen To Me?

My name is Christina Bishop. Growing up, I spent most summer days fishing on the lake with my father. I’ve been holding a fishing rod since before I could even walk!

For this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Old town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak and weigh in on its features.

Does it offer the stability, storage capacity and maneuverability it claims, or does this fishing kayak fall short?

Read on to find out!

Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Features:

  • Pedal Drive – Free your hands up for fishing! You can pedal forward and backward, and you can also steer using the controls on either side of the hull rather than having to use your paddle.
  • Transducer Mount Included – Not every kayak has this, so if you plan to install a fish finder it is ready to go!
  • Retractable Rudder System – This is great if you get into black waters or shallow spots so you won’t damage your rudder!
  • Comfort – This is one of the most comfortable fishing kayaks we have tested so far. The sliding track system makes it easy to adjust both the seat and the foot pedals.
  • Rod Holders – You don’t have to compromise hull space because there are rod holders built-in to this kayak.
  • Drink Holder – There is a cupholder for your favorite non-alcoholic beverage!
  • Ample Storage Space – This kayak has storage everywhere! There is a large hatch in the bow that can hold 2 or 3 dry bags worth of gear. Storage also runs down both sides of the boat so longer rods can fit inside. There is a small hatch opening right behind the seats. You will find another small compartment in the PDL drive right between the footpads where you can put a phone, wallet and a small tacklebox with no problem. It even has extra storage on top of the drop-in pedals!
  • 5 Year Warranty

Our Thoughts After Using the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak

Testing Out a Well Equipped Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak

We launched this kayak at Olde Rope Mill Park, Georgia, to really put it to the test!

It’s Built Like An Angler Would Build It

Honestly, We love this kayak! The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 was built the way an Angler would design it. All three rod holders are in easily to reach locations.  

It is so convenient to have gear tracks on both sides! We used them to hold a trolling rod holder on one side and camera boom on the other side.  

There are hatches in the front and back that we used to store lots of great fishing gear. The hatches have somewhat tight covers that do not allow water to come in, but we can’t be certain they are totally waterproof.

Unfortunately, there is only one paddle holder and it is on the right side.

There is also a well in the back with bungee cords that is convenient for a crate.

The transducer was ready for us to plug in our fishfinder, and it worked great with the Lowrance that we tested.

The rudder can be lowered and lifted by a lever on the right side, and it was great to have when we got back into the shallow coves.  

The kayak is steered by a lever on the left side.

There are convenient rubber mesh pockets on each side that were perfect for pliers, grippers and extra plugs.  A plug box fits nicely under the seat. There is a drink holder built into the hull! 

Stability and Maneuverability

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 is only 10 feet long rather than 12 feet, so it was designed for freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers and protected saltwater areas. We felt like there was plenty of space. They make a similar model that is 12 feet.

Thanks to its compact nature, the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 was easy to maneuver and control even in those tight coves at the lake.

We were able to fish in small and secluded spaces that other larger boats and kayaks couldn’t get to.

We liked having all 3 ways to power the kayak. You will do fine with just a paddle and some pedals because if you get tired of paddling, just start pedaling! A motor will get you across the water much faster, and of course you will appreciate that if a storm cloud blows up!

Pedaling is smooth and quiet which lets you sneak up on your catch. Pedaling also frees up your hands to fish while your legs do the pedaling.

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 is very stable. Stephen was able to stand up comfortably when fishing in calm water, and he is nearly 6 feet tall.

The kayak didn’t handle choppy water as well as the Nucanoe Frontier 12 that we tested. This is because the bow sits low with only about a foot of clearance from the water.

If you hit waves that are over a foot tall, you will get a lot of water in the vessel. Thankfully, the water drains quickly.

This kayak does best when the wind is under 15MPH with light or no choppy conditions. Old Town makes other kayaks that are suitable for rougher conditions, but this kayak is great otherwise.

Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak Specifications:


The Old Town Sportsman has a length of just under 11 feet.


The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 weighs around 95 pounds empty. 


The Sportsman PDL 106 has a carrying capacity of 450 pounds.


The Sportsman PDL 106 comes with a paddle and pedals. It can also be powered with a motor (sold separately.)


The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 is a sit-on-top kayak.

Additional Features

  • Seat – The seat is very comfortable with great lumbar support. It also has a long shuttle track to accommodate any leg length. It can also be removed and used as a lawn chair.
  • Foam Deck Pads – The non-slip EVA foam deck pads provide traction and stand-up comfort.
  • Removeable PDL Drive – You can remove the PDL (pedal drive) when you don’t need it.
  • Custom Tackle Box Included

Pros & Cons



  • Stability – We never felt like this kayak was unstable when we tested it.
  • Skid Plates – Two skid plates gives you some damage control when you encounter rough surfaces.
  • Retractable Rudder System & PDL System
  • Pedal Drive – Free your hands up for fishing! You can pedal forward and backward. You can also steer using the controls on either side of the hull rather than having to use your paddle.
  • Comfort – The sliding track system makes it easy to adjust both the seat and the foot pedals. The seat is also very comfortable.
  • Quality – Hand built in the USA with a 5 year warranty.


  • Heavy – The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 weighs around 95 pounds empty. This is the heaviest kayak we have tested so far.
  • Speed – While the kayak maneuvers well, it is not the fastest kayak to pedal or paddle. This isn’t as much of a concern if you use a motor.
  • Seat Height – The seat position does not sit as high as other kayaks we have tested. This can be fixed with some after-market modifications.
  • Paddle Holder – The paddle only mounts to the right side.

Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Review & Final Verdict (4.7/5)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We highly recommend the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 kayak to anyone who is serious about fishing in protected areas, bays, harbors, lakes and rivers. At just 10 feet long, it is easy to maneuver, and the pedal drive makes casting so much easier.

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Christina Bishop, an ardent hiker and kayaker, distills years of outdoor adventures into expert guidance for fellow nature lovers. Her extensive experience is the foundation of trustworthy and professional advice on navigating the great outdoors. Christina’s dedication to the wilderness shines through her insightful tips, inspiring confidence and a deeper appreciation for nature’s wonders.